Lagoon

Lagoon Camp, March 2022

The Lagoon Camp landscape was just glorious this March. Most trees and grasses still wore a summer uniform, but some areas have started losing their colours as autumn approaches. Happily, the Wild jasmine was still in flower together with the Ruspolia plant, which decorated the camp area in a handsome coat of red. Sunrise and sunset likewise gifted us with ruby hues. Once the sun disappeared, our night sky was fantastic on cloudless nights. Our guides noticed five planets lined up in a parade consisting of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn on several evenings.

Stargazing Lagoon Camp

One morning drive, Springhares entertained guests by fighting for dominance, a spectacle that lasted over 30 minutes. These crazy-looking creatures live in burrows and dig impressive warrens. Speaking of diggers, the dung beetles were still rolling their balls of dung, often with a mate catching a lift on the mound before her egg-laying duties commenced at the ideal excavation site. Bat-eared foxes were also seen foraging in different areas of the Kwando Private Reserve.

One night, we found a medium-sized python moving between room one and the main area of Lagoon Camp. A baby crocodile was also seen several times along the log underneath the deck by the boat station. Water monitor lizards often frequented this area too.

Lion prides and leopards in Leadwoods

We located two dominant lion prides (Mmadikolobe and the Holy Pride), but we have been lucky with sightings of the Mma Mosetlha pride, which comprises two lionesses, and the three Rra Leitho coalition too. One of these three male lions wears a collar. We watched 14 Black-backed jackals trying to steal scraps at one kill made by one of these impressive male lions! One evening during the night drive, we found the male with the collar from the Rra Leitho coalition, and he was bleeding around the right eye after a fight with the dominant males from the Rra Bogale coalition.

On another night safari, we came across a female leopard hunting along Rex Road. Porcupines and civets were also commonly seen during the evening activity.

A mother leopard of two cubs perched up on a Leadwood tree by the Firewood-Rakgolo junction, full-bellied and we later saw this female teaching her cubs to hunt an impala. Comically, they had very little success.  

We also came across a Brown hyena this month! It was very relaxed, walking along Makudi road before disappearing into a hole. We visited again to check if it was perhaps a den site, but there were no further signs of inhabitation. On another day, guides noticed many vultures and investigated to find a lone Spotted hyena feeding on a kudu carcass.

The resident pack of Wild dogs numbering nine was seen hunting. On another occasion, the team picked up the tracks of three dogs running around Grass Pan before disappearing into the thick bush. The next day they were seen at Giraffe Pan and identified as the resident Lebala Pack.

Fresh cheetah tracks gave us the run around for a few days. We spent about a week following the tracks and signs without a sighting until one afternoon proved fruitful. We spotted the two brothers on the move and followed them to a termite mound, where they spotted a Red lechwe. They stalked it over the next hour but failed to land the meal. We kept with them until they eventually managed to kill a female Red lechwe.

There have been excellent sightings of the general game, including enormous herds of Plains zebra numbering over a hundred in size. Breeding herds of elephants were also sighted on many occasions, and guests were delighted to see the Red lechwe leaping across the waters with a photographic splash. Lechwe are the most aquatic antelope after the Sitatunga and can feed in water up to their bellies (if they deem it safe from crocodiles). Roan and Sable antelopes were also witnessed, and we have been lucky with several Eland sightings.

Banded, Dwarf and Slender mongooses all made an appearance this month, and we once found a Black mamba halfway through its meal of an Emerald spotted wood dove on Rex Road.

Ground Hornbill Botswana

Most migrant birds were still around, including European, Carmine and Blue-cheeked bee-eaters, Broad-billed rollers, Woodland kingfishers, Jacobin cuckoos and Amur falcons. Ostriches, Wattled cranes and Ground hornbills were logged too.

(Note: Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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